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Vast: The Crystal Caverns» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Strategy Tips for the Cave rss

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Eric Stevenson

Apex
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I've played the game once and I played the cave. I didn't do too well and never was really in contention to win. I learned many things along the way and would play much different next time. Definitely takes a different type of strategy, which makes it very interesting.

Do you have any general tips on a successful play?
Specific questions I had:
--Strategies for accelerating the placement of tiles to empty the deck. I'm thinking I could have done a better job attracting people to areas that would cause MANY tiles to get placed.
---Tips for keeping your treasure and crystal tokens on the board to maximize the number of tiles you can draw from the bag (they would get gobbled up the second I got them out)
---I thinkig did a good job slowing the other players down in a balanced manner, but it is an important aspect of this discussion too.


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Lawrence
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Tustin
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Remember that you can activate each ability multiple times as long as you have enough omens. This is especially important with cheap, powerful abilities like Giant Bats. The ability to move other players around is huge. This, combined with rotating tiles can really hinder other players from completing their goals.

Cave construction is also very important. Personally, I like creating choke points. I'll create one section (often using the bridge terrain) that's only cross-able through 1 square. I'll rockslide that square or make sure any walls face towards the rest of the map. I may even put a few treasure chests there and bluff the players, making them think I'm putting crystals there. In general though, don't aim for one huge amorphous blob of a cave. That only allows the other characters freedom you can't afford to give.

In a more broad sense, playing the cave is about maintaining balance. If the dragon looks like she's waking up a little too quickly, ensure that more treasures get picked up by the knight. If the knight is low on health, push the goblins back a bit and allow the knight an event card to regain health.

Besides Hated, the other less obvious way to get more tiles out is to put tiles with 3 - 4 open sides on exposed edges. This means that when the knight or dragon reveals a tile, you're able to drop at least 2 - 3 dark tiles.
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Dylan Thurston
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One thing that I think I missed my first game was the real utility of messing with all the other players and spreading them out, even when there's no clear leader. I let the dragon get too many Goblin kills, for instance.
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Eric C
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I'd love to hear more from experienced players about treasure placement. Do you want the Knight to pick up treasures in the early game? Should they be used as incentives to get the Knight to explore certain tiles, or should they be placed in hard-to-reach spots to keep them away from all players? What's the best way to use these strategically?
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Darrell Goodridge
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Windsor Locks
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Currently at 1:2 ratio, getting better every week
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I played the Cave in our first game tonight. I don't know what the best way is, but I can tell you what I did wrong at least, and how I would fix it.

-Treasures and Crystals are really hard to keep on the board. Of course, the other 3 players were Knight, Dragon, and Thief so they all wanted them. At first, I tried putting them on the opposite side of the players, but then the Dragon would get 3 wing cards and just move all the way over to it anyway. Then I tried putting them out as bait, and that worked better. It's a good way to get a Knight onto an Ambush/Event tile or move a Dragon away from Events. The Thief is different. I learned the hard way not to place any Treasures within 4-5 spaces of the entrance.

-Placing Tiles. I really pooched it on this aspect. Instead of making jagged edges and or narrow hallways, I was squaring off corners and forgetting where my crystals were, and generally placing any random tile from my hand, except when I was forced to play a certain one. This would be my biggest area to improve.

-Omens. I never drew more than 3 at once. By the time I could have played the Spores, it didn't matter anymore. The Knight had max Grit, the Dragon was 11 Wakefulness, and the Thief would have just lost one upgrade, making his choices 3-4-4 again. Big deal. I tried to make good use out of the Crystal Curse and rotating tiles, but due to my squaring off mentioned earlier, I couldn't get more than one or two more edges.

-Game Controller. I did notice that through the use of Events and Treasures, I could somewhat dictate the Knight's course of action. Was the Dragon getting a lot of Wakefulness? Give her Boots or a Javelin, something to catch and wound the Dragon. Was the Thief getting ahead? Give her the Magic Bow. Was the Knight already maxed or don't want her gaining Grit? Give her something worthless or worth a lot, respectively. Was the Thief dying too often? Give him a treasure within walking distance. I thought this control was the biggest joy of playing the Cave.

I also wouldn't recommend playing the Thief + the Cave in less than 5 players. It dawned on us at the end of the game, that adding in Vaults meant 6 more tiles for me to place, and someone whose sole purpose is to take the treasures which power my economy. And since the Cave is in the game only 1 non-edge related tile is added every round and there is one less player to potentially reveal tiles.
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Hunter K
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Cardboardjunkie wrote:
I played the Cave in our first game tonight. I don't know what the best way is, but I can tell you what I did wrong at least, and how I would fix it.

-Treasures and Crystals are really hard to keep on the board. Of course, the other 3 players were Knight, Dragon, and Thief so they all wanted them. At first, I tried putting them on the opposite side of the players, but then the Dragon would get 3 wing cards and just move all the way over to it anyway. Then I tried putting them out as bait, and that worked better. It's a good way to get a Knight onto an Ambush/Event tile or move a Dragon away from Events. The Thief is different. I learned the hard way not to place any Treasures within 4-5 spaces of the entrance.

-Placing Tiles. I really pooched it on this aspect. Instead of making jagged edges and or narrow hallways, I was squaring off corners and forgetting where my crystals were, and generally placing any random tile from my hand, except when I was forced to play a certain one. This would be my biggest area to improve.

-Omens. I never drew more than 3 at once. By the time I could have played the Spores, it didn't matter anymore. The Knight had max Grit, the Dragon was 11 Wakefulness, and the Thief would have just lost one upgrade, making his choices 3-4-4 again. Big deal. I tried to make good use out of the Crystal Curse and rotating tiles, but due to my squaring off mentioned earlier, I couldn't get more than one or two more edges.

-Game Controller. I did notice that through the use of Events and Treasures, I could somewhat dictate the Knight's course of action. Was the Dragon getting a lot of Wakefulness? Give her Boots or a Javelin, something to catch and wound the Dragon. Was the Thief getting ahead? Give her the Magic Bow. Was the Knight already maxed or don't want her gaining Grit? Give her something worthless or worth a lot, respectively. Was the Thief dying too often? Give him a treasure within walking distance. I thought this control was the biggest joy of playing the Cave.

I also wouldn't recommend playing the Thief + the Cave in less than 5 players. It dawned on us at the end of the game, that adding in Vaults meant 6 more tiles for me to place, and someone whose sole purpose is to take the treasures which power my economy. And since the Cave is in the game only 1 non-edge related tile is added every round and there is one less player to potentially reveal tiles.

Playing as the cave I'm pretty sure you can look at dark tiles.Which would eliminate the factor of forgetting where your crystal tiles are.
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Ethan Furman
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Cardboardjunkie wrote:
I also wouldn't recommend playing the Thief + the Cave in less than 5 players.

In a two-player Cave vs Thief game the Cave doesn't have to place Treasure.

Cardboardjunkie wrote:
And since the Cave is in the game only 1 non-edge related tile is added every round and there is one less player to potentially reveal tiles.

The other players should be revealing tiles, and the Cave places dark tiles next to any lit edges that are open (i.e. not a wall).
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Chris Horscroft

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Re: Strategcry Tips for the Cave
I played as Cave in our group’s first games tonight. Long narrow hallways with treasures at the extremes seems a good bet. When the cave collapses you remove tiles touching only one tile first. You want the crystals to be the tiles you remove first, so try and make them the ends of long corridors, preferably chained with other crystals.

As Cave you also need to balance the other players to ensure no one else wins before you can, and leave yourself able to quickly remove crystal tiles in a collapse. Others have explained how to achieve balance; my contribution is simply to avoid a dense cave; go for long spindly passages instead. Stop building each corridor when it has crystals at the end, developing other corridors when you can to distract and bluff the players. Use treasures to lure them into ambushes (or to help a too weak hero). At very least you should be able to split the others up, and if they explore in order to reveal your tiles (defeating the point of long corridors) the reveals should still help you get lots of tiles out quickly, piling on the pressure.

Note this is based on two games only. I was competitive in game one and won game two handily using this approach. Undoubtedly it will be readily countered by more experienced players than we were, but you’ve got to start somewhere!
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